Thursday, 29 November 2018

DW Documentary: Fakes in the art world - The mystery conman

An important documentary that every collector of antiquities should watch. This explains how lack of provenance can often mean 'fake' and that many art dealers know that before they offload it to auction. What is not explained is how this forger (one probably cannot say master forger when you look at some of the pieces once they are under suspicion) actually managed to get them on the market, while getting the profit from their sale making it worth the not-inconsiderable effort (and research) that has obviously gone into designing new pieces, paying for the material ('melting down ancient coins'? Bought as a bulk lot from someone like Dealer Dave maybe), casting and workmanship, then the 'distressing' and finally some pretty convincing patination. It suggests to me that there might be a close financial relationship between the maker and the middlemen who supply them to the dealers, rather than the usual stereotype of a starving artist in a garret paid a pittance for works a dealer then shifts at an inflated price. Also what actually is the evidence that he is 'Spanish'? But if the film is right, this has been going on quite a long time and has caught out a number of well-known figures mentioned in this blog. Good.

Im am not too happy about the loose way the word 'archaeologist' is used here.

" Fake art sits unnoticed in galleries around the world. A talented fraudster has been playing the art market and ripping off collectors for years. Who is the mystery conman? Discover more in THE MYSTERY CONMAN - THE MURKY BUSINESS OF COUNTERFEIT ANTIQUES. Museum curators and art collectors want to sweep the topic of counterfeiting under the carpet. But archaeologist Stefan Lehmann is on the hunt for the elusive figure whose counterfeit antiques are in some of the world's biggest collections. Around 40 fakes have been discovered and Lehmann believes this is just the tip of the iceberg. Alongside antique dealer Christoph Leon, Lehmann follows the forgery trail through Europe and to the US."

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